After spending every Christmas season packing shoeboxes full of gifts to children in need, two Spruce Home residents traveled all the way to Calgary to volunteer at the Operation Christmas Child processing centre to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes in a hands-on way.
Monica and Rod Ens spent Dec. 8 and 9 inspecting Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes before they were packed in cartons and transported to Central America, West Africa, the Philippines and Ukraine. There, they will be given to children who, in many cases, have never received a gift in their lives.
“This is something we’ve always wanted to do,” said Monica. “It’s been worth it just to see how things are done here, and I’ve enjoyed the work.”
Packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes with their own children over the years and seeing the videos of how receiving them impacts the kids in other countries inspired the couple to get involved with the project in a bigger way.
“It’s amazing, to see the joy on these faces just by giving them a tiny bit,” said Monica. “It’s a touching story, how it changes lives.”
Now retired, Monica and Rod finally took the chance to drive to Calgary and give their time to Operation Christmas Child to sort through the more than 350,000 boxes that waited for them at the warehouse.
Monica and Rod recently moved away from Meadow Lake, but their old friends Ken and Ruth Ness decided to join the Ens’ at the Operation Christmas Child processing warehouse to do something good together for the holiday season.
Operation Christmas Child is an almost 30-year-old program ran by Christian organization, Samaritan’s Purse. The organization partners with local churches worldwide to provide gifts for those in need.
“It’s a way we can show Christ Love in a tangible way,” Monica said. “That’s the whole point of Samaritan’s Purse, to share the Gospel with these kids that receive a box.”
An Operation Christmas Child shoebox can contain any sort of small gift like hygiene products, a small pair of shoes, or a deflated soccer ball and a pump, but their most popular items are school supplies. The shoebox must also contain a $10 cash or check donation to help fund the collection, processing, and shipping of the gifts.
To pack a shoebox online or find out more information about Operation Christmas Child, please visit https://packabox.samaritanspurse.ca/
In 2021, Samaritan’s Purse collected more than 9.1 million shoebox gifts throughout Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States to ship to children in need in more than 15 countries around the world.